European Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ Digital Agenda targets to achieve a minimum of 30Mbps broadband access across Europe are achievable and widespread coverage of 100Mbps is also possible, a report by Analysys Mason claims.
The report, commissioned by Telefónica and Telecom Italia, provides an overview of next-generation access (NGA) deployment and take-up in all European Union (EU) Member States, including forecasts to 2020.
The report suggests that the 30Mbps coverage target should be achievable throughout the EU with limited support; a mix of technologies can be deployed to achieve widespread take-up of 100Mbps services among households in most member states, provided that investment conditions, investors’ perception and demand improve.
“Wireless networks will play an important role in delivering 30Mbps coverage especially in rural areas, and member states that have not yet awarded the 800MHz spectrum should do so as soon as possible," states Dr Matt Yardley, partner at Analysys Mason and one of the report’s authors.
“Cable is the best option for delivering 100Mbps coverage quickly in those member states where there is an existing cable footprint, since less effort is required to upgrade it.
“However, for widespread 100Mbps coverage across the EU, other competing technologies are necessary and will be deployed gradually at a speed that is very much dependent on the regulatory framework; non-cable NGAs cannot always be assumed to have a first-mover advantage," Yardley said.
The report also stresses the importance of advanced FTTC solutions in delivering 100Mbps coverage in most European countries, and Yardley believes "regulatory policies aimed at encouraging copper networks to be switched off would distort competition and would not be technologically neutral."
The report suggests that the demand side provides the main impetus for NGA network deployment and that policy makers should therefore not overlook demand-side measures.
“Public campaigns to increase awareness of the benefits of NGA for consumers and commercial flexibility for operators are both important factors in encouraging future investment," Yardley concludes.